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Towards ending preventable maternal deaths in Zambia: ICPD@25 and UNFPA@50 high-level visit to George clinic

The year 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), which invigorated how the world thinks about population, development and reproductive rights. The ICPD underscored that investing in individual human rights, capabilities and dignity, across multiple sectors and throughout the life course, is the foundation of sustainable development.

As part of in-country engagements to mark the achievements and progress made to advance the implementation of the ICPD agenda and its important contribution to accelerating achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the First Lady of the Republic of Zambia Madam Esther Lungu represented by the Minister of Health Hon. Dr. Chitalu Chilfya, in collaboration with the European Union and the UN Country Team undertook a high-level visit to George clinic in Lusaka on 17 April 2019, during which mothers and their newborn babies received “mama packs” containing essential health and hygiene items donated by UNFPA and Esther Lungu Foundation Trust.

The outreach was also held as part of a series of events to commemorate UNFPA’s 50th anniversary.

Quote by First Lady of the Republic of Zambia, Madam Esther Lungu:

To our new mothers, I would like to underscore that as a woman, you have the right to access information and services on maternal health, family planning and HIV. This is critical to saving your life and that of your baby. When you are healthy and empowered, it secures the livelihood of your family, the progress of the community you belong to and also advances Zambia’s development.

My office is firmly committed to safeguarding the dignity, safety and reproductive health of all women and girls in Zambia. I wish to reaffirm my commitment to support national and community level programmes aimed at prioritizing the health and development of our mothers, sisters, daughters and nieces, as this is key towards sustainable development in Zambia as well as towards fulfilling the promise we made to secure individual dignity and human rights 25 years ago at the International Conference on Population and Development

Quote by the Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Chitalu Chilufya, MP  

Since 1994, Zambia has made significant progress in reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health outcomes. However, my Ministry is aware that far too many women still die of preventable causes, and far too few have equitable access to quality integrated health services.

The Ministry of Health will continue to provide leadership and an enabling environment to facilitate improved health outcomes for our people, in particular our women and girls. This is in line with the commitment Zambia made towards the implementation of the ICPD agenda, which placed human rights, including the right to sexual and reproductive health at the heart of sustainable development.

Quote by UNFPA Representative Ms. Gift Malunga

The ICPD underscored that investing in individual human rights and capabilities is the foundation of sustainable development. It specifically promotes the rights for individuals to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health as a cornerstone to development. It is for this reason that UNFPA, and other UN Agencies, development partners and stakeholders have over the last 25 years sustained support to the Government of Zambia to provide information and services that enable women and girls to make informed choices about their lives. 

I would like to commend the First Lady of the Republic of Zambia, Madam Esther Lungu, for her active role in ensuring that women and adolescent girls have access to services and information and stay safe from child marriage, teenage pregnancy, sexual gender based violence and HIV. I also acknowledge the leadership of the Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Chitalu Chilufya under whose stewardship the country has continued to score gains in reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child health.

UNFPA reaffirms its commitment to ensuring a Zambia where every pregnancy is wanted, every child birth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

Quote by the EU Ambassador

Zambia has received 50 Million Euros - over 700 Million Kwacha – through the European Union’s MDGi programme on Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child and Adolescent Health and Nutrition. More than 4 million Kwacha of this programme was invested in the George Health Centre to improve access to and quality of health care in Lusaka district.

The European Union commends the Government’s dedication to improve reproductive, maternal, child and adolescent health in Zambia. We are committed to work in close partnership with the Zambian Government, Zambian civil society and with other cooperating partners to improve equitable access to quality and inclusive health care for the people of Zambia.

Let me also take this opportunity to congratulate UNFPA with its 50th Anniversary. We hope to see the continued combined political and financial support for the promotion of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights as well as the implementation of the Agenda of the International Conference on Population and Development.